California Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as Caltech, is a private research university located in Pasadena, California. With a focus on science, engineering, and technology, Caltech is consistently ranked as one of the top research institutions in the world. It has a small student population of around 2,200, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1. Established in 1891, Caltech has a long-standing reputation for innovation, excellence, and groundbreaking research.
Caltech was founded in 1891 as Throop University, named after its founder, Amos G. Throop. Initially, the school focused on vocational training in the arts and crafts. In 1921, the school changed its name to the California Institute of Technology, and began focusing on science and engineering. Throughout the 20th century, Caltech became known as one of the premier research institutions in the world, producing dozens of Nobel laureates, and making significant contributions in numerous fields.
Caltech is organized into six academic divisions: Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Engineering and Applied Science, Geological and Planetary Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. Each division is further organized into departments and research centers, and is led by a division chair. The university’s president oversees all academic and research activities.
Caltech’s 124-acre campus is located in Pasadena, California, approximately 11 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The campus is home to several research facilities, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Palomar Observatory. The university’s buildings and facilities are known for their modernist architecture, and the campus features several iconic landmarks, including the Millikan Library and the Caltech Beavers water polo pool.
Caltech offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, and technology. The university is known for its rigorous academic programs, and its faculty includes dozens of Nobel laureates, MacArthur “genius” grant recipients, and other notable scholars. Caltech’s undergraduate program is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of around 6%, and is consistently ranked as one of the top undergraduate programs in the United States.
Colleges and Schools
Caltech is organized into several colleges and schools, including:
- The Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
- The Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
- The Division of Engineering and Applied Science
- The Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
- The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
- The Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Caltech has a small but vibrant student community, with around 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world. The university offers a range of student clubs and organizations, as well as numerous opportunities for research, leadership, and extracurricular activities. Caltech’s campus features several dining options, including a student-run cafe and a popular pub. In addition, the city of Pasadena offers numerous cultural and recreational activities, including museums, theaters, and parks.
Caltech’s varsity athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division III as part of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The university’s sports teams are known as the Caltech Beavers, and compete in a range of sports, including basketball, soccer, water polo, and cross country. While Caltech has historically struggled in athletics, the university’s teams have shown dramatic improvement in recent years, and have garnered national attention for their academic achievements and dedication to their sports.
Caltech has produced dozens of notable alumni, including:
- Linus Pauling, Nobel laureate in Chemistry and Peace
- Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate in Physics
- Barbara McClintock, Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine
- Kip Thorne, Nobel laureate in Physics
- Sherwood Rowland, Nobel laureate in Chemistry
- Frank Capra, Academy Award-winning film director
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